Bonaventura named head coach at Stevens after Flavia steps down

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Stevens Institute of Technology Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics and Recreation has announced Monday that after 10 years leading the program, alumnus Joe Favia has stepped down as head wrestling coach. Additionally, Rogers also announced that Anthony Bonaventura, who has been served as both an assistant and associate head coach since arriving in Castle Point in 2015, has been promoted and will become the ninth head coach in program history.

First returning to his alma mater as an assistant, Favia guided the program to unprecedented heights. Over his 10 seasons at the helm, Stevens went a remarkable 116-39 (0.748 winning percentage) in dual matches and reeled off 37 straight wins between 2015 and the start of the 2017 season, which is believed to be the second-longest winning streak in athletic department history. The squad's 22-0 mark in 2016-17 marked the most victories in any perfect season in school history. Perhaps more impressively, Favia prioritized making Canavan Arena an uncomfortable venue for opponents as the Ducks won 39 of their 44 on-campus duals (0.886). Additionally, the Ducks went 33-2 (0.942) in conference duals from 2014-2019 and are currently on a streak of nine straight conference championships that bridged the program's tenure in the Centennial Conference and the current affiliation with the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC).

"My goal as a coach has always been to bring the best out of my wrestlers; to help them realize things within them, that they themselves couldn't see or didn't believe; to motivate them to give more than they ever dreamt was possible; to love the process and have gratitude and humility along the way," Favia said. "Setting records and attaining a status in the community were never drivers, they were results of maximum effort, intensity, and a passion to be the best version of ourselves every day. Words cannot express the depth of gratitude I have for the relationships I've built with athletes and their families during my tenure. It was through their unwavering support, that allowed me to thrive."

Under Favia's watch, the Ducks became a fixture on the national landscape. Winners of five regional championships, including each of the last four, Stevens has sent 45 wrestlers to nationals and produced 29 All-Americans, culminating with alumnus Brett Kaliner earning the program's first national championship with a first-place finish at 149 in 2022. Stevens has posted five top-10 finishes at nationals, including placing fourth in 2018 – the high-water mark for the program.

Prioritizing academics and the off-the-mat work as much as he did the on-the-mat results, Favia helped the Ducks to eight National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar Team awards, including a second-place finish in 2022 (3.85 grade-point average) and third-place finishes in 2018 (3.63), 2020 (3.68) and 2023 (3.73). During Favia's tenure, the program received their first three Academic All-America honors, including Kaliner, who earned the prestigious honor twice, and alumnus Hunter Gutierrez. To date, Favia has helped the program earn 70 NWCA Scholar All-America accolades (with more expected in the coming days), three MAC Senior Scholar-Athlete awards and two Centennial Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Year.

An eight-time conference Coach of the Year, as an undergraduate, Favia was a three-time letterwinner for the Ducks, earning a pair of All-America awards at 165 (2012, 2013). He was also named Outstanding Wrestler of the 2013 Centennial Conference Championship and compiled well over 100 victories during his time on Castle Point. Favia was also named Stevens' Best Male Athlete in 2013.

"Russ Rogers' support of me has always been steadfast, even from day one when he took a flyer on a 24-year-old to lead his team," Favia reflected. "He took a risk that very few athletic directors have done in the history of college athletics, and, for that, I am forever grateful."

Bonaventura joined the wrestling program in 2015 after one season as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Waynesburg University. He has been an integral part of the Ducks' successes, helping to coach 21 regional and 42 conference champions since joining the fold.

"I want to thank Joe Favia for taking a chance on me back in 2015 and giving a young coach an incredible opportunity to be on his staff," Bonaventura said. "The last nine years with you have helped shape and grow me into the coach I am today. I am forever grateful for sharing the coaches' corner with you and know I am better prepared for the next step in my career thanks to your mentorship. I look forward to continuing our vision for Stevens Wrestling and building on what we created over the last decade."

"I am confident that Anthony has all the resources and talent necessary to continue to elevate the success of the program," Favia added. "He has been a staple in our program and has been instrumental in our growth the past decade. I am encouraged and excited to support Anthony and this team from a new vantage point as they come together and pursue a new chapter in Stevens Wrestling."

As a program, Stevens Wrestling has reached significant milestones since Bonaventura first arrived in Hoboken, capturing conference championships in each of his seasons on the sidelines. Stevens earned its first team trophy at the Division III Championships in 2018 with a fourth-place finish and in addition to becoming the program's first national champion, Kaliner was also the Ducks' first national finalist. Additionally, with the Ducks' incredibly success at the regional level, Bonaventura was named Regional Assistant Coach of the Year on three different occasions.

"I would like to thank Russell Rogers, Sara Klein and President Nariman Farvardin for their belief in me and for their continued support of both Stevens Wrestling and of the entire athletic department," Bonaventura commented. "I am motivated to maintain Stevens Wrestling's successes on a conference, regional and national level, while providing a first-class student-athlete experience. I am eager to continue to work with these incredible student-athletes and help them achieve their goals, on and off the wrestling mat."

Bonaventura graduated from Waynesburg with his bachelor's degree in 2014 and went on to earn his master's one year later. He was a two-time NCAA national qualifier in addition to being named the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference's Most Outstanding Wrestler in 2013. As a senior, the Commack, New York native was an NCAA national finalist and earned All-America recognition. His second-place finish as a senior marked the highest finish at nationals for a Yellow Jacket to that point.

No stranger to success in the classroom as well, Bonaventura was selected as Waynesburg's Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2014. He also hosts a highly successful Division III wrestling podcast, D3 Nation, with his brother Gennaro, while also spearheading the Duck Insider podcast about all things Stevens Wrestling.

What They Are Saying About Anthony Bonaventura:
"Anthony Bonaventura is an amazing leader in the college wrestling community, especially for us in Division III. I have personally found him to be the ultimate professional when it comes to communication, solving problems, and a competitive attitude. I have had the pleasure to coach against him and work with him on various national committees and he is a leader and a team player. Anthony has energy that is infectious with all of those who come in contact with him! To summarize, he is a respected, dynamic leader who is equipped with powerful communication, organization and collaborative skills. I cannot think of a better person to lead Stevens wrestling into the future." – Scott Legacy, Head Wrestling Coach, Vermont State University Castleton

"This has been a long time coming! A well-deserved and earned promotion for Anthony. He has been a great ambassador to our sport and very instrumental in the success Stevens has had over the years. I look forward to the coming years of our Hudson River rivalry. Congratulations!" – Corey Luce, Associate Head Wrestling Coach, New York University

"Congratulations to Anthony and Stevens Wrestling! Anthony does a tremendous job advocating for the sport of wrestling and NCAA DIII through his D3 Nation podcast and his roles on the NWCA ranking committee and NCAA DIII Wrestling Championships Committee. He and Stevens Wrestling already have a ton of respect across the nation for their success on the mat, and more important in the classroom, and Anthony will continue to raise the standard." – Tony Valek, Head Wrestling Coach, Augsburg University

"I am so excited and thrilled for my brother. He is terrific recruiter and developer. He is one of the hardest working people I know, and he will continue to build up Stevens Wrestling and take it to new heights. He will do whatever it takes to bring home a national championship." – Gennaro Bonaventura, Head Wrestling Coach, Fairmont State University

"Anthony has served on the NCAA Ranking Committee with me the last three years and is someone who has a passion for Division III wrestling. I expect he will fill Joe Favia's position well and is certainly someone who is well deserving of the promotion. Anthony is a great young coach who will certainly continue to lead a strong Stevens team at the national level." – Jon Laudenslager, Head Wrestling Coach, Wilkes University

"Anthony is an amazing young coach and he will continue the strong tradition at Stevens." – David Malacek, Head Wrestling Coach, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

"Anthony is one of the hardest working young coaches in the game. This is a well-deserved promotion." – Lonnie Morris, Head Wrestling Coach, Johnson & Wales (R.I.) University

"There is nothing but gratitude from the entire alumni community for what Joe and Anthony have built over the past decade. They have taken Stevens from a school that was becoming a regional power in the Northeast, to a nationally competitive team that expects to be in the trophy hunt at NCAA's every single year, both athletically and academically. While it is bittersweet that Joe is stepping away, he is leaving the program in far better shape than when he inherited it and the Ducks are in great hands with Anthony. We are excited for Anthony to lead the Ducks as the next head coach and know that he will continue the pursuit to be national champions both on and off the mat." – Stevens Wrestling Alumni Community